Long-delayed “debut” for Yukisada

Don Brown the8thsamurai
Sun Nov 23 09:13:02 EST 2003

?Go? director Yukisada Isao (35)?s first feature film ?Open House? 
will belatedly open in theaters from December 13th, six years after it was 
made. The work was a victim of its distributor Shochiku?s internal ?coup 
d?etat? in 1998, as a result of which it was shelved. 
?I thought of giving up making films altogether,? admitted Yukisada. ?I 
didn?t think I could come back from that.?
?Open House? was set to be Yukisada?s feature directorial debut, and was 
filmed in 1997 after he had worked as an assistant director for Iwai Shunji 
and others. It was scheduled for release in June of 1998, and was in the 
can at last. However, on January 19th 1998, distributor Shochiku sent shock 
waves throughout the Japanese film industry with the abrupt dismissal of 
company president Okuyama Toru and his son, executive director Okuyama 
Kazuyoshi, at a company board meeting. ?Open House? had been produced as 
part of the ?Cinema Japonesque? project set up in the previous year by 
Kazuyoshi, and in the ensuing furore over the dismissals its release was 
postponed indefinitely.
?The hardest thing for a director to take is to not have their film 
released. And on top of that, this was despite coming so close to the 
opening day. Even so, no matter how much it got to me, there was nothing I 
could do about it.? 
The film was screened only at the Michinoku International Mystery Film 
Festival in June of 1998, and received a runner-up award for best new 
director. ?When I received the award, Mr. Sai [Yoichi, director of 
?Keimusho no Naka? ] and others gave me words of encouragement, and other 
producers showed interest in me, so I felt a certain degree of 
?If at the time I hadn?t had that support from such experienced 
filmmakers, I probably wouldn?t be making movies right now.?? 
Yukisada didn?t go to the trouble of re-editing the film, ?although if I 
had, I?m sure it would have turned out completely different. I wanted to 
leave in what I was thinking of at the time, as it was.?
?Open House? begins screening at long last on December 13th at Cine Libre 
Ikebukuro in Tokyo. ?I?m happy. Both myself and the staff had hoped it 
would be released. We?d been left hanging all this time.?
The film is based on the novel of the same name by Akutagawa Prize-winning 
author and musician Tsuji Jinsei (44), who also sings the ending song. His 
wife at the time, Minami Kaho (39), took the lead role of a newly divorced 
woman coping with loneliness (Tsuji and Minami later went through their own 
divorce in 2000). The cast also includes Shiina Eihi (27), Kawaoka Daijiro 
(25) and Kato Tokiko (59). Tsuji later married actress Nakayama Miho (33) 
in 2002 after meeting during the production of ?Sayonara Itsuka,? a film 
adaptation of another of Tsuji?s novels. The director of that film was to 
have been none other than Yukisada, but he backed out of the project before 
filming and it eventually ground to a halt. 

And in yet another book-to-film project for Yukisada, ?Sekai no Chushin 
de, Ao wo Sakebu,? based on the best-selling romance novel by Katayama 
Kyoichi, has begun production at Toho Studios in Tokyo and is scheduled for 
a May 8th 2004 release. The film stars Shibasaki Ko (22) and Yamazaki 
Tsutomu (67), who also starred in ?GO.? Also featuring are Moriyama 
Mirai, Nagasawa Masami and Ozawa Takao. 
The book became a huge hit this year, especially with young women, and has 
sold over 1,010,000 copies to date. It deals with universal themes such as 
the death of a loved one and concepts of life and death. Toho had already 
decided to make it into a film in summer of 2001, when sales had only 
reached the 8,000 mark. 

Don Brown

????PC??????????????????????????? ????
???????? http://www.microsoft.com/japan/protect/hm.asp 

More information about the KineJapan mailing list